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Suggestion: don't fleece your customers RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • My suggestion: don't stick a finger up at your customers by pretending to offer support via this forum when, actually, you don't, and even the moderators have nothing to with Microsoft.

    I mean, I thought that's what this was, being a Microsoft forum about Microsoft Windows Mobile, but it turns out (from the thread at http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsmobile/thread/9a4c1ca4-9016-4fcc-829c-125f27323c18) that actually the moderators aren't even from MS, and as far as I can tell there's no way to actually report bugs in such a way that MS will hear about them. I actually find this whole thing quite deceptive - it's almost as though we're intentionally tricked into thinking this is an official support site when really it's not, and, to the best of my knowledge, there isn't one.

    Maybe that's why none of the bugs my old WM 5.0 phone had have been fixed in my new WM 6.1 phone - MS didn't know about them as they didn't bother looking at this forum? I can't think of any other explanation why they haven't bothered to fix the bugs.

    (Still doesn't explain why a whole bunch of new and more severe bugs have made my WM 6.1 phone practically unusable, though).
    Thursday, March 19, 2009 1:07 PM

All replies

  •  Andy - Microsoft employees do view and review these threads. We hope the recent help suggestions to you by both the community and Microsoft employees on other threads address your problems.
    Monday, March 23, 2009 3:35 PM
  • While the moderators here do not work for Microsoft, most of us are Microsoft MVPs and so we have a closer relationship with Microsoft than you might think.  Recently at the MVP summit (this is where Microsoft invites MVPs to their campus for open dialogue with Microsoft employees and to share ideas, etc), I participated in a discussion with many of the moderators here, Mary Alice, and some other Microsoft employees about this forum.  One of the topics of this discussion was what level of involvement Microsoft employees should play in this forum.

    One of the benefits of having non-employees be moderators here is that there is more open dialogue with users about windows mobile issues.  Since we do not work for Microsoft we tend to be more objective about the flaws (and benefits) of the windows mobile OS.  We are free to discuss hacks and other workarounds that Microsoft employees might not be comfortable discussing.  The difference between this forum and every other windows mobile forum you might visit is that the forum does get reviewed regularly by Microsoft and the moderators have a more direct link to the Microsoft developers.  As moderators and Microsoft MVPs, we are often asked by Microsoft for feedback about ongoing issues with Windows Mobile devices.

    A complicating factor in all this is the OEM.  Microsoft provides the generic OS to the OEM, who then modifies it to run on the specific devices it sells to end users.  Sometimes, the OEM mucks things up and creates some of the performance and stability issues that users encounter.

    Sure, the channels of discussion between Microsoft, the OEMs that create and sell the hardware that runs the windows mobile OS, and its end users could be improved, but Microsoft knows more about the ongoing issues with windows mobile OS than you give them credit for in this thread, and I do not think that Microsoft is "sticking their finger up at their customers" or being deceptive in the least by hosting a forum such as this one.
    Prof Julie, Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices | http://frommypocket.pocketprimer.com/
    Sunday, March 29, 2009 3:38 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks MaryAliceC and Prof Julie. I confess I was in a foul mood when I wrote that. I apologise if I crossed the line.

    Of course, I'd have been in a far less foul mood if I were getting some response to any of the problems I'm having with my phone, as follows. (Note: I'm getting a fair number of responses from moderators, particularly Jack Cook, and I thank them graciously for trying. But if they don't have the same problem, they don't stand a chance of fixing it, despite having the best will in the world).

    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsmobile/thread/081ad8c0-b0e5-4d34-9f06-5228b8b41fb1
    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsmobile/thread/465a15d0-a3df-4f9f-b650-ac103fad232d
    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsmobile/thread/ce4730ad-9bdf-4e8c-a670-ef2a280cc38e
    http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsmobile/thread/9a4c1ca4-9016-4fcc-829c-125f27323c18

    Now a couple of problems in one of those threads have been solved by moderators and I'm grateful to the help I was offered. In every other thread, the problem is still occurring, and there has been no response from Microsoft. (The only response from MS employees in one thread was basically "we do read these forums", then it went quiet, then "can you test this by doing X", then total silence). Why has no one at Microsoft asked me for sync logs or something (there must be something like that available) so they can examine what went wrong? Why has no one from Microsoft suggested test cases to further narrow down the problem? Why has no one from Microsoft said, hey, you know what, we've looked at the code and found a bug, we'll release a fix by date X?

    It's fine that you moderators, as non-employees, can be open about your opinions. But that just means that, as in at least one of those threads, I get told "yeah, I couldn't make that work either, I gave up in the end" - which (a) doesn't actually help me (though I do appreciate the candour), and (b) isn't very reassuring when it's one of the same issues I reported on my old WM 5.0 phone three years ago, still happening on my WM 6.1 phone now!

    So basically it just means I'm still waiting for fixes. The moderators are doing their best but simply aren't well-placed to solve the problems, and certainly cannot do anything if the problem is not with my settings but with the MS software, which I am certain is the case on several of those issues. So if the MS software does have a problem, but I can't tell them about it... when will it ever get fixed? (Apparently never judging by my three year old synching-favourites problem).

    Deceptive? Sticking a finger up? No, I spoke too strongly in the heat of the moment, I take that back and I apologise again. Effective? Helpful? Fulfilling any kind of customer service obligations? From MS, not in the slightest! (And from moderators, only to the extent to which they are able, which when it's a genuine bug, isn't very far - for all that I appreciate that they are trying).
    Thursday, April 2, 2009 6:22 PM
  • I guess the thing that really frustrates me is the complete inability to escalate things.

    In all of the threads I listed above (plus one more, added since) I'm still experiencing problems. My Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 phone (synching with Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate, Microsoft Sync Center, Microsoft Outlook 2007, Microsoft Windows XP SP4, Microsoft ActiveSync 4.5, and Microsoft Outlook 2003) is not working as it should, it's less useful to me than my Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 phone was, and despite the fact that every one of those products is a Microsoft product, they've all been ignored by Microsoft, another week has gone by with no Microsoft response, and I have no other way of bringing them to Microsoft's attention.

    Again I'd like to mention Jack in particular as an MVP who has done his best to help out and there have been a few others who have tried. From Microsoft the response has been almost non-existent (a couple of questions and platitudes in one or two of the five threads) and that's appalling. I can see the arguments in favour of these forums - people like Jack like helping out people like me, and it saves MS money, and so forth - but why is there no mechanism to say, OK, the forums have tried and failed, we think this one's a genuine bug, let's actually formally report it to Microsoft now?

    Currently the complete lack of response on any of those issues just feels like they're hoping I'll forget about it and go away. Until my phone works, I'm not going to do that.

    I dare not add up how much money I've paid for all those Microsoft products I've just listed. I mean, I don't have anything against Microsoft making money, in fact, if pushed, I'd describe myself as a Microsoft "fan", it's why I've got all those products instead of Linux and Open Office or something - I'd rather spend money and get the Microsoft seal on it. (Little secret: once upon a time I even worked for Microsoft for five years). But it would be really nice to think that some of the money I've given them would go on making sure I'm happy with the product and fixing it if I'm not.
    Saturday, April 4, 2009 10:48 PM
  • Thanks for your feedback. Many Microsoft people are paying attention to these issues and these forums are linked to official escalation processes. We have been able to get a number of issues officially fixed and we hope that yours will be part of the solution set in the future.
    Monday, April 6, 2009 2:07 PM